Investigation Launched into Greenwashing!
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into the accuracy of ‘green’ claims made about household essentials such as food, drink and toiletries in a drive to tackle greenwashing and misleading green claims, which often influence consumers purchasing decisions. This move is part of the CMA’s commitment to helping accelerate the UK’s transition into a net zero economy.
One of the factors driving this investigation was aptly summarised by the CMA Chief Executive. He said ‘“We’re concerned many shoppers are being misled and potentially even paying a premium for products that aren’t what they seem”. UK shoppers spent over £130 billion last year on household essentials. Many of these essentials are marketed as environmentally friendly; for example, 91% of all dishwashing items and 100% of toilet products are marketed as ‘environmentally friendly’. This merits increased scrutiny on these so-called ‘green’ claims to prevent consumers from being misled. Just as you should never judge a book by its cover, you should never judge a product by the claims on its packaging.
So now that we have established the key drivers behind this investigation, let’s look at the focus of the investigation.
It appears that the CMA will be considering the following:
- Whether generic environmental claims are supported by sufficient evidence.
- The credentials behind eco-ranges and whether sufficient information is provided to consumers about the green credentials.
- Whether products claimed to be made with recycled materials, have a sufficient quantity of such materials used in the product.
- Whether claims that products and/or ingredients are natural are true.
This is in addition to the Green Claims Code, published by the CMA in 2021, aimed at helping businesses communicate their green credentials honestly and transparently to prevent misleading shoppers.
Also, the ASA is continuing enforcement within the environmental space, focusing on environmental claims with alternative meat and dairy products.
The CMA will target a wide range of companies marketing ‘green’ claims, and if such claims are false, this could result in negative publicity and fines. Therefore, now is a good time for businesses to review their environmental claims on any marketing communications to ensure they comply with the consumer protection legislation, the CMA’s Green Claims Code and the ASA’s guidelines.
As promotional bodyguards, PromoVeritas reviews packaging and marketing communications for the brands we work with to ensure that they adhere to the relevant regulations and that consumers are not being misled. Please feel free to reach out if you would like any marketing communications to be reviewed!